LOS ANGELES -- Just when it seemed the controversy over President Barack Obama's birthplace had been laid to rest, a group of Southern California "birthers" had a rare day in federal court Monday to make their case that the president isn't a natural-born American and should be removed from office.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted Buena Park, Calif., minister Wiley Drake and leading birther litigator Orly Taitz a chance to challenge the summary dismissal of the case by a Santa Ana, Calif., federal judge two years ago.
Unmoved by the release last week of Obama's official long-form birth certificate showing he was born in Honolulu, the birthers descended in force on the Pasadena, Calif., federal courthouse, wielding fold-out displays of the president's identity documents they contend prove a lifelong pattern of covering up foreign origins.
"Analysis shows it is not a true and correct image of his birth certificate but a creative computer image," Taitz insisted to the court, alleging the Obama administration has pressured the legal system to squelch the truth. "He has created this psychological Kristallnacht," she said, referring to the Nazis' first orchestrated oppression of German Jews.
The lawsuit filed on Inauguration Day in 2009 was dismissed by U.S. District Judge David O. Carter on grounds that the federal courts are not the forum for sanctioning a sitting president, even if it was proved that he wasn't eligible to run for the White House.
The Constitution clearly assigns to Congress the right to settle "political questions" such as impeachment, Assistant U.S. Attorney David A. DeJute told the judges Monday.
Drake's attorney, Gary Kreep, argued that a grave injustice was being committed against the American people and that the courts should step in to decide whether Obama is qualified to be president because there is too much political self-interest in a Congress controlled by the two major parties.
Drake, who once called on his First Southern Baptist parishioners to pray for Obama's death, ran as the American Independent Party's vice presidential candidate in 2008. Taitz's client, Alan Keyes, was the party's presidential candidate, garnering less than 0.0004 percent of the popular vote.
The three judges -- all appointees of Democratic presidents -- asked Kreep and Taitz why their clients hadn't filed suit before the election was over, when they could have turned to the courts with the argument that an unqualified challenger, if proven to be ineligible, was hurting their candidate's prospects. Taitz, a Soviet-born dentist and former real estate agent, insisted she sought congressional intervention during the campaign but was rebuffed.
Following the hearing, Taitz took her case outside the courtroom for the phalanx of television cameras and reporters. She displayed images of the birth certificate Obama released last week and pointed out inconsistencies in the lettering, type size, paper quality and document numbering, comparing it with a birth certificate issued by the same hospital for a woman born just hours before the president.
She also brandished blow-ups of a college application and a Selective Service System letter in alleging the documents show "a pattern of deceit."
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